The straightforward meaning of karate is ’empty hand’.  In Japanese, ‘Kara’ means empty, and ‘te’ means hand. It is written as follows in Japanese: 空手. Originally, it was written 唐手, which means ‘Chinese hand’, or more literally ‘Tang dynasty hand’.

Karate in Japanese

Chinese Influence

Although Karate originated on the island of Okinawan, off Japan. Karate has Chinese origins. In the 14th century, trade was established between the island of Okinawan and mainland China. Besides goods, the Chinese brought over many aspects of their culture, which included karate. Hence its original name ‘Chinese Hand’.

Karate – Empty Hand

Karate is so called, as it’s a form of unarmed combat. It uses a combination of punches, kicks and smashes, using hands, feet, legs, and elbows against an opponent.

The Philosophy of Karate

Karate ideology draws on Buddhist believe heavily. The ’empty’ aspect of karate also has another meaning within the philosophy in a Buddhist way. It is seen that ’emptiness’ is a form itself. That as a true Karate practitioner, you must purge or empty yourself of selfish and evil thoughts. As a karate practitioner, it is expected you will not easily be drawn into a fight. That you’ll only use your skills in the rare circumstances when it’s needed.

Interested in Learning Karate?

If you’re interested in learning karate, get in contact with us today. We have classes available for kids aged 6+ and for adults. Remember the first class is free!


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